FRAMM: Fair Ranking with Missing Modalities for Clinical Trial Site Selection

Brandon Theodorou, Lucas Glass, Cao Xiao, Jimeng Sun
Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence, Artificial Intelligence (cs.AI), Machine Learning (cs.LG)
2023-05-29 16:00:00
Despite many efforts to address the disparities, the underrepresentation of gender, racial, and ethnic minorities in clinical trials remains a problem and undermines the efficacy of treatments on minorities. This paper focuses on the trial site selection task and proposes FRAMM, a deep reinforcement learning framework for fair trial site selection. We focus on addressing two real-world challenges that affect fair trial sites selection: the data modalities are often not complete for many potential trial sites, and the site selection needs to simultaneously optimize for both enrollment and diversity since the problem is necessarily a trade-off between the two with the only possible way to increase diversity post-selection being through limiting enrollment via caps. To address the missing data challenge, FRAMM has a modality encoder with a masked cross-attention mechanism for handling missing data, bypassing data imputation and the need for complete data in training. To handle the need for making efficient trade-offs, FRAMM uses deep reinforcement learning with a specifically designed reward function that simultaneously optimizes for both enrollment and fairness. We evaluate FRAMM using 4,392 real-world clinical trials ranging from 2016 to 2021 and show that FRAMM outperforms the leading baseline in enrollment-only settings while also achieving large gains in diversity. Specifically, it is able to produce a 9% improvement in diversity with similar enrollment levels over the leading baselines. That improved diversity is further manifested in achieving up to a 14% increase in Hispanic enrollment, 27% increase in Black enrollment, and 60% increase in Asian enrollment compared to selecting sites with an enrollment-only model.
PDF: FRAMM: Fair Ranking with Missing Modalities for Clinical Trial Site Selection.pdf
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